LARGO – The Prince George’s Community College men’s basketball squad came into its Nov. 30 contest having won three of its last four games, while the Owls’ opponents, the Cecil College Seahawks, had lost three of their last four.
A combination of missed free throws, bad fouls and lousy defense cost the Owls on their home court, as they lost 91-89 to end their two-game winning streak.
Both squads were evenly matched early on as sophomore James Hagins scored the first seven points of the game for the Owls. The match was then knotted at 10 points apiece until the Seahawks went on a 10-2 run to take an eight-point lead early in the first half.
The Owls relied on their defense and started to show how defensive-minded they were by going on a 16-3 run to take a five-point lead late in the first half. However, the Seahawks then went on an 8-2 run toward the end the first half to take a 31-30 lead into the break.
“The first half, we played okay defensively, but we definitely could have played better defense,” said Mykal Johnson, who finished with a game-high 28 points in 20 minutes. “We were missing a lot of free throws in the first half. We ended up shooting 60 percent from the free throw line. We definitely could have shot better.”
In the second half, the Owls had a meltdown they could not recover from, and most of it came from foul trouble. The Seahawks went to the free throw line an astounding 45 times and turned 33 of those attempts into points.
Halfway through the second half, the Seahawks took the first double-digit lead of the night at 54-44. They did not stop there as they increased their lead to 18 with 5:45 left in the game.
The Owls started to pick it up on the offensive end as they went into a scoring frenzy and put up 40 points in just under six minutes of play to get the deficit down to seven points. Despite the crazy comeback, which included a halfcourt buzzer-beater by Johnson, it was a case of too little too late, and the Seahawks escaped with a 91-89 win.
Seahawks sophomore Caleb Johnson led his team with 26 points.
“Defensively, we could have stopped fouling,” said Kennith Ford, who finished with 26 points. “We left them on the line a lot. We need to stop fouling, slide our feet more and make our free throws too.”
To add insult to injury, the Owls’ top scorer on the season, sophomore Gus Stone, went in for a layup and fell hard on his back with 9:26 remaining in the game. Stone left the game, but returned later. That was until he exited the contest for a second time and did not return.
Stone said he has pain in his lower back and will get it checked out to see if he will miss time. He finished the game with eight points and six rebounds.
Owls Head Coach Brian Johnson knew his team could have played better and was not happy with the results.
“It is just about being ready to play,” Johnson said. “The standard and the expectation is for us to be ready to play every single game. That is being defensive-minded and worrying about how we’re going to get stops.
“On the offensive end, we will take care of that, but we’re a defensive-minded team. We can’t give up 91 points to anybody. So, for us to do that, you can see the result. Communicating is enormous for us and putting our hard-nosed defensive hat on, and relying on that to make us successful.”